There was another Super Ma’am freak-out this week, and this time from a black trans woman mocking a “no neck bitch” after she was called “sir” in a place of business. As many who follow me know, I spend a fair bit of my time attempting to refute the common anti-trans stereotypes that are so often thrown around, and it’s frustrating to see “my own people” willfully playing into those stereotypes instead of challenging them.
We do a great disservice to children by not teaching them the proper place of emotions, as they can be used for good or destruction. The power of raw emotion, and the critical importance of tempering them, is something that I discuss frequently, and will always discuss when the opportunity rises. An emotion can be either a fire that burns or a piece of steel to be forged. Isolating that emotion to a concrete building and letting it burn itself out is certainly a valid choice, but it isn’t my preferred one–instead, use the anvil of reason and the hammer of creativity to turn the lump of steel into a sword. Don’t let it be a fire that engulfs you; use it to create, like the song above, “Your Fall From Grace,” which I wrote while in the throes of anger–and it shows, being the most angry song I’ve ever composed.
But more to the point, we need to discuss perceptions, word choice, and human interactions, because the “Learn your pronouns!” stuff has to stop.
Anyone with even a passing interest in psychology or economics (the study of human action) will realize very quickly that words like “he” and “she” are selected by the user automatically, with little or no cognition put into them at the time of usage. From very, very early ages, we are taught when to use “he” and when to use “she,” just as we are taught when to say “please” and when to say “thank you.” No one has to put any thought into it to determine whether to say “please” or “thanks” when the occasion comes up; it happens automatically and without deliberate selection. When making a request, one says “please.” When receiving something, one says “thanks.”
The power of the human brain is that it’s capable of shifting much of our interactions into auto-pilot like this. We don’t have to think about whether to say “hello” or “goodbye” when we run into someone, which frees our brain to think about other things (while it also controls our breathing, movement, heartbeat, and other necessary functions). Just ponder for a moment how exhausting it would actually be, when faced with any person, to have to dedicate any amount of thought to whether you’re supposed to say “hello” or “goodbye.” This is a useful feature, and one would hope that everyone would be aware of it, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Whether to say “sir” or “ma’am,” or to refer to someone as “he” or “she” is similarly automatic. When we ask someone to call us a different pronoun, we are asking them to dedicate part of their conscious thought to casual conversation–we are asking them to do work. We are asking them to throw a wrench into an automatic process in the course of a conversation and to instead deliberately ponder whether to say “hello” or “goodbye.” This is not an easy task, even for the most “woke” person out there, and we should never be upset when someone slips back into auto-pilot in conversation. Neither should we be upset when someone does it intentionally, of course–at least, we shouldn’t simply allow that emotion to burn uncontrolled in the forest of our life.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it many more times: I get called “sir” every single night at work, most commonly over the phone. Sometimes, though, people do it in person. As accepting as my co-workers are, and as visible as they are putting aforementioned deliberate effort into calling me “she,” the truth is that if I got bent out of shape and went on a wild, emotional tirade every time this happened, I wouldn’t still have a job. No one wants to work with someone so unpredictable, unhinged, and uncontrolled, nevermind that it would also mean that I regularly lashed out, chastised, and drove away paying customers. I work as a female and live as a female, and my coworkers are among the most accepting people I’ve ever met (realistically, probably more accepting than I am), but a lot of this acceptance is due to the fact that I’m not an insufferable cunt.
That’s what this is really about, of course. While “he” and “she” are programmed into us at very early ages and are selected automatically and unconsciously, this doesn’t change the fact that the other person’s perceptions of me are what their brain uses to determine which to use. Rather than forcing that person to put in the work to consciously choose which pronoun to use, if I am the one who wants to change their speech, then the onus falls onto me to alter their perception of me. If their brain determines I am more masculine than feminine, they will say “he.” If their brain determines that I am more feminine than masculine, then they will say “she.” Why does this need to be pointed out to any adult?
I am not entitled to make them think about me a certain way, or to make them use certain words when referring to me. This is true in general, but it must be recognized in particular with those people who intentionally use the non-preferred pronoun.
An ordinary occurrence, to be honest. Also of note: there is no chance I’m going to be kicked from LRN.
But, as mentioned previously, why would I give “Pussy ass leftist” the power to make me upset? This would require that I care about his opinion, and I don’t have the energy to care about the opinions of random dipshits. Who does? There are a few people who could genuinely hurt me by intentionally misgendering me, and they’re the people least likely to do so. They may still slip occasionally, but if they can make the effort to call me “she,” then I think it’s only fair that I make the effort to adjust their perception of me, and to overlook any accidents. It’s generally called “being an adult.”
I firmly believe that the greatest threat facing western society today is that we have stopped teaching people how to temper their emotions, or the value of doing so. What else can I think when congressional officials talk of being “morally right, but factually incorrect?” What else can I think when a person sees a photograph of coal miners, acknowledges they are coal miners, and then writes a lengthy article about how upset they are about the “blackface,” despite acknowledging that it isn’t blackface? What else can I think when, following the election of Donald Trump in 2016 on largely jingoist slogans and emotional appeals, there was an onslaught of people recording videos of themselves crying and flipping out, and sharing them for all the world to see? This is the Era of Unbridled Emotion, and that’s dangerous, because emotion has not ever been a valid pathway to truth. Feeling something is true won’t make it true. Emotion doesn’t keep the jet in the sky, or the automobile moving.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” they say, and we similarly see this playing out in New York following its Minimum Wage increase, with restaurant owners forced to raise prices, and customers shocked at how much more expensive it has become to eat out. The result was both predicted and expected: fewer people eat out, so some of the wait staff is fired. After all, the Minimum Wage is a direct price floor on the cost of labor, and price floors always create surpluses; a surplus of labor is called “unemployment.” When you raise that price floor, you simply get… more unemployment. This is basic economics, but many adults today simply don’t want to hear it, and instead truly believe that their feelings on the matter, that “everyone deserves a ‘living wage,'” will somehow make all this work out.
An emotion is nothing more than an internal reaction to external stimuli. It is our own proclivity and inclination that determines our reaction to the external stimuli, and even if we can’t actually change how we feel, we can and absolutely should limit the scope of those feelings in our behavior and beliefs. It isn’t easy, but I don’t know why anyone thinks that it should be. It’s supposed to be more difficult to resist animalistic impulses and overcome them. But it isn’t just for “the good of society” that we need to relearn this art; it’s far more important than that, because…
Controlling one’s animalistic tendencies is what it means to be human.
It’s been a while since the United States implemented conscription–what we now call “The Draft” since we’ve turned it into the lottery that no one wants to win–and there remains a lot of negativity attached to it. The last time there was any serious talk about conscription was during George W. Bush’s presidency, and my father was so convinced that the draft was imminent that he routinely suggested that I go ahead and sign up. The high school had just required us to take the ASFAB, and I scored very highly, which caused Army Reserve recruiters to pester me pretty extensively. When the recruiter insisted twice that there were no reserve units deployed to Iraq, my father thankfully made him leave.
I don’t know whether my father ever served in the military or not. Through most of my life he insisted that he fought in the Vietnam War, and my sister and I realized as adults that this couldn’t possibly be true. He said that he had been drafted out of high school into the Navy. I don’t know enough about the draft to know whether conscripts served in other branches, and I don’t really care, but he asserts that his recruiter told him he would be able to choose a submarine as his assignment, only to ultimately not be able to. Who knows? Nothing my father says is ever really true. At best, it’s a lie with a bit of lean toward the truth.
When I went through a difficult patch around 20 years old, I contacted the Navy about recruiting. Much to my dismay, I had to again take the stupid ASFAB, as well as a Navy-only code-breaking thing at the end, and it took all day even though I finished the test in about two hours. That’s the worst part of any standardized test. Just hand me the test and let me leave when I’m done. Don’t make me sit around for five hours waiting on other people to finish.
There were a few oddities, though. First, it was my intention to enter the nuclear research program. I hadn’t yet entered college, but one half-truth after the other led to the realization that, unless I had a BA, then I was going to enter the service at the lowest possible rank–which, not being arrogant, is a tremendous waste for someone of my talents. Handing me a gun and sending me to the frontline is probably the least effective way to put me to use–and yes, I realize that the Navy doesn’t really fight on the front. That’s not the point. However, I had a BA, then I would have no need or desire to enter the military.
The $5,000 signing bonus didn’t sound particularly appealing. That buys a ten year old car. I’m sorry, but if I’m signing my literal life over to you and essentially becoming your slave for a period of time, and if this gives you the right to basically tell me to go and die, then five grand isn’t going to cut it. Not by a long shot. Up that to fifty grand, and then we can talk.
It was hilarious, though, how the recruiter kept going on and on about how much money he makes by being in the service. In fact, he stopped by the bank while taking us to take the ASFAB, and made quite a show of transferring one thousand dollars from one account to another. I don’t know if the other kids bought it or not, but it was clearly a scripted piece of bullshit. After the test, he said he would treat us to lunch, at which point he began looking around the car for change, and then ordered us each two things from the dollar menu at McDonald’s. What a farce. I’ve taken clients to lunch before, and it has never crossed my mind to take them to McDonald’s, scrounge around for change, and then tell them to order from the dollar menu and drink a cup of free water. Coming after his display of how much money he has, it was really funny. No doubt, he had no more or less money than any average person–probably less, really–and the accounts he manipulated at the bank were official navy accounts for exactly that purpose: impressing impressionable teens.
The main killer, though, was when it turned out that I was qualified to join the nuclear program, but was told that I couldn’t apply to it until after I was in boot camp, at which point the decision would be made about whether I would be accepted.
Yeah, no. I’m not doing that.
They might fool people who aren’t qualified to join nuclear research programs with that sort of thing, but not me. I can tell you exactly how that would have played out. “You didn’t get accepted. Now march, maggot!”
At the moment, the American military is completely voluntary, and that’s a good thing–if there’s going to be a military, then at least it’s voluntary. I’m not particularly fond of the recruiting tactics, though. I hate that many young men and women just have no real options for making a better future for themselves than joining the military. I hate that recruiters know that and use it to their advantage by targeting poor and minority communities. One of the few Michael Moore documentaries worth a shit is the one where he confronts some recruiters on this sort of predatory behavior.
It’s voluntary at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Conscription, however, isn’t a tool to protect the country. This is common sense, and it takes only a moment to think about it. It’s common knowledge that, immediately after Pearl Harbor, countless people joined the military. This is exactly what we’d expect if the United States–or any country, actually–was attacked by a foreign power. Just imagine what would happen if Russia stormed the beaches of California. Conscription wouldn’t be necessary to fill the ranks. We’d have people rushing out to California with guns loaded in their trucks without even bothering to enlist, they’d be so willing and so anxious to protect their country.
Conscription only serves the purpose of making people go and fight wars they don’t want to fight.
While there are pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers in all countries, if people want to fight, then they will volunteer to. That’s what it means to want something, after all. It’s readily apparent, and historically documented, that one of the things that make people want to fight is a foreign attack against their homeland. So while pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers wouldn’t want to fight, most people would, and I’m not seeing much benefit from making pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers fight. In fact, they’d probably do more harm than good.
Arguing this point with a friend a few years ago, he replied, “Yeah, but then they’d have to be sent through boot camp and trained, so there would be a delay…”
What a remarkable thing to say. That delay will exist whether the enemy attacks and people volunteer, or whether the enemy attacks and people are drafted. The only way to prevent that is to have a perpetual conscription requirement, which some people have campaigned for, where every adult must spend 2 years in the military or Peace Corps or something. I’m obviously not a fan of such an idea.
The very idea is stomach-churning. By what right does the government kidnap me, put a gun in my hand, and tell me to go and die? Shouldn’t I be the person who gets to make the determination that a cause is worth fighting for? Why does the government get to make that decision for me? So let’s call it what it is: enslavement. Literal enslavement, at that.
If the government needs soldiers, then the government has two options. It can either enslave people against their will, or it can offer people more stuff to enlist. If the government really wanted my service, they could have upped their bonus to fifty thousand dollars. However, force is what people use when they don’t want to compete. So instead of competing with non-dangerous employment by offering me a better wage and better signing bonus, the government chooses instead to circumvent that whole process and simply kidnap and enslave me.
If it ever so happened that the government needed more soldiers, they wouldn’t take the obvious route of offering people more money and more perks. They may make some token effort of doing this–raising the signing bonus to $5500, for example, as though an extra $500 will entice many more people to risk their lives for Uncle Sam–but they wouldn’t put any serious effort into it. Why should they? They hold the ultimate trump card: force. They don’t have to compete with free market jobs if they don’t want to, and they don’t have to expend much effort trying to compete, because they can just force people to join.
It’s bad enough that the state enslaves us through taxation and steals a sizable chunk of the fruits of our labors for itself. Conscription, however, allows the state to take 100% of our labor and to dictate exactly what that labor is. Maybe it’s digging trenches in Europe and fighting people who haven’t done anything to you. Maybe it’s taking and abandoning one hill after another in Vietnam, where success is measured in body count rather than territory. With conscription, you belong to the state. Your life belongs to the state, and it can effectively order you to end your life.
Now American society is asking whether women and transgender people should be required to sign up for selective service. Obviously, the answer is “No.” Instead of asking whether this archaic vestige of state supremacy should be expanded, we should be pointing out that it has no place in anything that calls itself a free country. If the cause of a war is just to a person, then that person will enlist to fight it. If the cause is not just, then they won’t. We cannot steal this agency from people. Their lives don’t belong to us or to the government. We don’t get to tell them to go die for a cause they don’t think is just. We don’t get to kidnap and enslave them.
Sure, we have an all volunteer military right now. But we’re only one major terrorist attack away from throwing that away, and tradition won’t stop people when the cards are down. Other people generally have few qualms about throwing away other people’s lives. The draft isn’t just some idea. It’s an omnipresent threat to every American, that we are never more than a moment away from becoming slaves to the government, and being sent to die in other parts of the world. It must be abolished. We do not belong to the government, and our lives are not its to throw away.
So I’m working on a new thing that I’m calling Reductive Reasoning. To my surprise, such a thing doesn’t already exist, and any searches regarding “reduction” and “reasoning” lead to reductio ad absurdum, which is certainly a type of Reductive Reasoning, but not the only type. I’m so intrigued by this idea, in fact, that I began a new book last night on the subject. I think I’ll provide this one for free, and the first draft will be finished around mid-April. Following a three month period of leaving it alone, I’ll begin the editing in mid-July, and should produce the finished version around the end of August. I’ve dropped other writing projects to pursue this one, because I think I’m onto something here.
Reductive Reasoning is all about sets and set theory, but, thankfully, doesn’t have to dive into the mathematics. In fact, it’s almost completely a logical exercise designed to separate fictitious sets from real items. There are countless ways in which this can be applied, and the book is going to spend most of its time providing these examples and explaining how it works. The interesting thing about this is that earlier I received an email from a colleague who was sharing with me an anti-transgender article from The Federalist, where I found myself immediately dissecting the assumptions and sets in my reply. The colleague wasn’t condoning the article; he just sent it as a point of interest.
Then, when I was working on this article about video games and RPGs, I found myself using it again, though only briefly. I mentioned that the definition of RPG must necessarily be a defining element–an element that is unique to the genre and ubiquitous in all games that are RPGs. If the element is not unique to the genre, or if the element is not present in all games that are RPGs, then we know that our definition isn’t adequate.
I’ve Got a Cat
Suppose I say “A cat is an animal that has fur and sharp teeth.” Here, obviously, my definition of “cat” is “an animal that has fur and sharp teeth,” because… that’s what “is” means.
We can immediately see that my definition is wrong. A dog has fur and sharp teeth. According to my definition, a dog is a cat. Similarly, hamsters have fur and sharp teeth, so, according to my definition, a hamster is a cat. Since we know that a dog is not a cat–because the entire meaning of “species” precludes the possibility that one species is another species, just as “is” has its own meaning–we also know that my definition is wrong.
For the most part, it’s irrelevant that my definition is wrong. However, suppose that I said “All cats know how to use a litter box.” It suddenly becomes very important to know what my definition of “cat” is. As I’ve provided my definition that “A cat is an animal that has fur and sharp teeth,” my statement is actually “All animals that have fur and sharp teeth know how to use a litter box.”
This statement is obviously false. Not only is a typical hamster incapable of using what we understand as a litter box, but you’ll go insane trying to teach a dog how to use one. My statement that “All cats know how to use the litter box” is built on the definition of what a cat is. It’s equally built on the assumption of what a litter box is, and what it means to use one. For the sake of keeping things simple–though I’ll probably delve into this in the book–“litter box” can be defined as “any small container filled with some sort of sand or gravel with the express purpose of being a repository for animal waste” and “using a litter box” means “releasing waste into the small container filled with some sort of sand or gravel.”
When attempting to determine whether my statement about cats using litter boxes is true, we must reduce it into its components:
What is a cat?
What is a litter box?
What does it mean to use a litter box?
These three things are assumed by my statement, and must be individually demonstrated and defined before the statement can be decreed as true or false. We’ve already defined “litter box” and “using a litter box” satisfactorily enough–there may be some problems with those definitions, but, for the sake of the argument, let’s just go with “common knowledge” here. The remaining question is, “What is a cat?”
My definition that a cat is any animal with fur and sharp teeth yields a statement that is obviously false–hamsters and dogs both meet that criteria. In fact, whether my statement is true or false depends entirely on what the nouns and verbs conjured even mean. Even using the scientific definition of a cat–a felis catus–won’t result in a true statement. “Any animal that is a member of the felis catus genus and species knows how to use a litter box” is still a false statement, or, at best, unfalsifiable. For whatever reason, not all cats will use a litter box, and so whether or not they even know how cannot be determined.
Recently I pointed out on Facebook that “The United States” doesn’t share a border with Mexico. This is because “The United States” is a set, and sets aren’t real things. They’re imaginary human constructs that are often treated as real things, but aren’t. This is important, because the statement “The United States has every right to determine who can enter its borders” is just as open to reduction as the statement about cats. Does the United States even have borders? No. It’s a set of other states, and some of those other states have borders. California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas share a border with Mexican provinces.
So the United States can’t have the “right” to determine who can and can’t enter its borders, because the United States doesn’t actually have borders in the first place. Instead, we would have to say that California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas have the right to determine who can enter their borders.
Except we immediately have the same problem there, don’t we? These states are also sets without real existences. We treat them as real, but they aren’t. So the statement “California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas have the right to determine who can enter their borders” has to be reduced. And there’s no such thing as “California” or “Texas.” There are only sections of land with populations that we’ve artificially divided into different groups and that we treat as though they are real divisions. In reality, there’s just a large section of land, some of which is owned by individuals, and some of which isn’t owned by anyone but which is claimed to be own by the fictitious set called “the government.”
Well, “the government” isn’t a real thing, and so it can’t own property. It would be like if I gave my lighter to Casper the Friendly Ghost, and then everyone began acting as though Casper was the rightful owner of my lighter. In practice, I would contend that it constitutes a form of insanity to treat imaginary things as though they’re real; the only difference is that Casper is an imagined individual while “the government” is an imagined set. Who really owns my lighter, if I have given it to an imaginary entity?
Anyone who wanted to could take the lighter and then say that Casper gave it to them, and they would be just as correct to say that as I was to say that it belonged to Casper in the first place. We can attribute literally anything to a fictitious entity. “Casper hates black people,” I could say. “Casper doesn’t hate black people,” you could reply, “and actually worked in the Civil Rights Movement.” We’d have no problem recognizing any two people having a conversation about whether Casper worked in the Civil Rights Movement as being batshit crazy. And “government” is just as imaginary and fictitious as Casper. The only differences are that “the government” is a set and that a lot of us are batshit crazy enough to treat “the government” as though it’s a real thing.
When we get down to it, we find ourselves saying that “An individual who owns land has the right to determine who can enter that land.” This, too, is open to reduction and a discussion of the nature of property rights and ownership. That’s not my subject here; I only bring it up to point out that I know even this seemingly obvious statement is open to reduction–however, this statement also stands up to reduction if it is assumed that force, violence, and coercion are morally wrong.
So does the United States have the right to determine who can enter its borders? Obviously not. The United States doesn’t have borders, because it isn’t a real thing, and so it can’t have any characteristics. Do California, Texas, et al. have the right to determine who can enter their borders? Obviously not. These states don’t have borders because they aren’t real things, and so they can’t have any characteristics. Does an individual have the right to determine who can enter their property? Briefly, I will say “Yes,” though I’m aware that I have not, in this article, attempted to demonstrate that. Instead, I’m going to rely on common knowledge again so that I can move on to something else. In the grand scheme, yes, even “common knowledge” must be reduced, but I want to get to the next subject because I have shit to do.
Sex & Transgenderism
At one point in the Federalist article I linked above, the author says something like “This is a boy pretending to be a girl.”
Relying on “common knowledge” isn’t helpful here, because there is too much disagreement there. Here, whether one agrees with the statement or not merely depends upon their bias and what they believe to be common knowledge. However, we’re going to reduce it.
What is a boy?
What is a girl?
The quick-thinking person might say, “A boy is someone born with a penis. Duh. And a girl is obviously someone not born with one.” And they might roll their eyes in exasperation at how they were being asked to define something that they consider “common knowledge” or “common sense.” But not only is this not pedantic to ask, it is critical. The statement’s status as true or false depend entirely on these definitions; they are hardly inconsequential. Whether or not his person is a boy pretending to be a girl depends completely on what a boy is and what a girl is.
Well, that definition clearly doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. There exists a medical condition where boys can be born without penises and/or without testicles. The statement “This is a boy pretending to be a girl” becomes “This is a <person born with a penis and testicles> pretending to be <someone who was not born with a penis and testicles>.” But this statement is obviously not true, per the link I just provided.
If the person has any intellectual integrity at all, they’ll sigh in exasperation, admit that they’re previous definition doesn’t hold up, and might say, “Then a girl is someone born with a vagina, and a boy is someone who wasn’t born with a vagina.”
Again, though, this definition doesn’t hold up. It’s a bit rarer, but there have been born girls without vaginas. By the latest definition, this woman born without a vagina is actually a boy.
Frustrated and probably getting angry, the person might turn to what they learned in 8th grade Biology: “A boy is someone born with XY chromosomes, and a girl is someone born with XX Chromosomes.”
Until recently, I would have accepted that definition tentatively, because I lacked the knowledge to dispute it, but in fact human sexuality isn’t anywhere near that simple. It turns out that every single cell in a person’s body has its own sex. This means that, far from having “all XY chromosomes,” a boy can have anywhere from 0% and 100% of their cells having XY chromosomes. So no one is born “with XY or XX chromosomes,” because everyone is born with some combination of cells featuring both XX and XY chromosomes in virtually any conceivable ratio. So the statement “This is a person born with XY chromosomes pretending to be a person born with XX chromosomes” is similarly false–the statement isn’t scientifically valid and isn’t applicable to anyone.
What we find, as we continue reducing and continue digging, is that the entire argument is built upon the assumption that there is such a thing as “a boy” and “a girl,” and that these things are clearly defined along some delineating characteristic. Basically, “boy” is a set and “girl” is another set, but the person–any person–making the claim will be unable to provide any definition that doesn’t either apply to “boys” that the definer himself would dispute as being boys, or would not apply to boys that the definer himself would call “boys.” A hermaphrodite, for example, born with both a penis and a vagina, would count as a “boy” per the person’s first definition, but the person would adamantly deny that a hermaphrodite counts as a boy, even though his own definition means the hermaphrodite counts as a boy. Similarly, a male born without a penis would not count as a boy per the person’s first definition, though the person would adamantly insist that such a person counts as a boy, even though his own definition means the penis-less baby doesn’t count.
Any definition given for a set must include all members of that set and must exclude entities that aren’t members of that set. Otherwise, the definition is wrong and the set is improperly defined. Since the set itself isn’t defined properly in the first place, any statement made about that set must be either false or unprovable. As an example, any definition for “boy” must include all members of that set, at the very least according to the person defining it, and the definition must exclude all girls. The person must be able to delineate the set about which they are making a truth statement. Before it can be said that “This is a boy pretending to be a girl,” both “boy” and “girl” must be unambiguously and all-inclusively defined into their different, non-overlapping sets. Not only did the writer of that article fail to do that, but everyone would fail to do that, because it can’t be done.
Another day, another weird conversation about something that shouldn’t be an issue but is because we threw common sense out of the window around the same time that we decided that simple, descriptive words like “shemale” were unacceptable. So today let’s have yet another conversation about terminology, transgenderism, and all that. I was going to save this for the podcast return debuting on March 1, but since the wrestler won the state championship today, the timing is more important.
How about this simple question? What does it even mean that he’s a transgender male? What does that tell you? I’m transsexual, and even I had to stop and think about what this means. From one perspective, I’m a transgender female; from another, I’m a transgender male. What does it mean that this wrestler is a transgender male? It means that he was born a girl, and that he’s making the F2M transition. Has he undergone SRS? We don’t know. Maybe, and maybe not. Should a person with a penis be taking part in a ridiculously high-contact and notably homo-erotic sport like wrestling against people who would, in those conditions, be members of the opposite sex?
Well, let’s back up a bit more.
To my surprise, my recent article about the transgender bathroom thing caused me to alter my position such that I’m no longer an advocate of any gender-based segregation. I’m a damned good chess player. In high school, there was a good chance that I was going to go on to become at least an IM. When I returned to chess a few years ago, I fell just short of qualifying for IM status.
Chess is one of the… sports*… where men and women are segregated. In some cases, this is good. There are measurable differences between men and women. But the idea of segregating men and women in an intellectual pursuit doesn’t strike me as right. Are women inherently less intelligent than mean? Less capable of playing chess? If not, then why are they segregated out? I wondered all this when I returned to the… sport… because I didn’t know which category I would be placed in. And in a… sport… where the best women players rank around 2500, the bars for qualifying for titles are much lower; at 2100 I probably could have secured a title. Hell, at 2100, pouring my entire life into chess and seizing the world championship would have been a realistic goal. I fell short of 2100, to be clear, when I lost interest again, as I tend to do, and moved on to other things. However, the gap from 2100 to “best female player in the world” is a hell of a lot lower than trying to take on Karpov, Kasparov, or Carlsen, who are around 2900. It may not seem like it, but that gap from 2500 to 2900 is a huge one. It represents basically a lifetime of dedication and study.
I think physical sports probably should remain segregated, because it’s not fair. I’d like to be able to say that “A good basketball player is a good basketball player regardless of whether something protrudes from their chest or their crotch.” But that isn’t the case. Women are notably shorter than men. Women can’t jump as high, or run as fast. It’s not popular to say it, and for some reason it’s considered bad to say, but these are measurable things. 6 ft, 10 1/4″ is the women’s high jump world record. The men’s high jump world record is 8’0 1/4“. That’s a measurable, quantifiable, demonstrable difference. Not only is the world’s best high jumping man objectively better at high jumping than the world’s best high jumping women, but it’s also true with averages: on average, any given man is likely to be better at high jumping than any given woman.
There’s a simple reason for this.
The Transgender Male is a Cheating Bastard
Just as the measurable differences in physical capabilities are long-observed scientifically, so are the effects of testosterone, which is something else that I, being transgender, know first-hand. Not only does testosterone increase physical strength, stamina, and dexterity, but estrogen actively inhibits those–primarily by shrinking the testes and thereby prohibiting the production of testosterone, but… Anyway.
I fail to see how pumping yourself full of testosterone, a hormone known to increase physical strength, stamina, and dexterity at measurable quantities, while engaging in a physical competition designed explicitly to test strength, stamina, and dexterity against people who are defined explicitly by their lack of that hormone doesn’t qualify as using a performance-enhancing drug to cheat the competition. Of course the guy won! You basically chopped a dude’s dick off and told him to go and wrestle a bunch of girls!
This isn’t an accomplishment. It would be like challenging my sister to an arm wrestling match. Woohoo, I won! Can I have a congratulatory pat on the back, and maybe a sash or trophy?
No! Because I cheated. I have hormones in my body that make me innately stronger than she is.
How can we possibly be having this insane conversation? What has happened to America?
I’ve been taking estrogen consistently, without interruptions for about six months now. My muscles have only barely started to fade. I knew it was going to take time, because I’ve lifted weights most of my life–I’m skinny, yes, but it’s seriously 100% muscle, no fat or waste. But before the estrogen could begin eating away at my muscles, first the estrogen had to overtake my testes and inhibit and lower the production of testosterone. I could have taken T-inhibitors, but there is a reason that I opted not to do this–the fewer hormones the better, as far as I’m concerned, since my sexuality makes it very helpful for my equipment to continue functioning.
So I know from first-hand experience that estrogen reduces muscle mass and testosterone builds it. Plus, it’s just a scientific fact. It’s basically what the hormones do.
I don’t know who is to blame for this situation. Given that it’s Texas, it’s probably Texas’s fault, for not allowing him to wrestle against other boys. And I’m sorry to say this, but… then do something else. Find something else to do. Don’t cheat all these girls out of their victories and championships because the state’s decree of your gender has screwed you and prevented you from competing in the proper category. Sometimes life sucks. When that happens, you have two options: let it go and move on, or pay it forward.
You paid it forward, man.
Because the state cheated you, you in turn cheated these girls.
I can’t exempt you from blame in that, because no one made you wrestle. When Mississippi jumped on the anti-LGBTQ bandwagon and made it clear that they’re going to land on the “birth certificate” side of things, my options became going into the men’s bathroom at the courthouse, or just using the bathroom somewhere else. So instead of paying it forward by forcing the men in those restrooms to deal with me–which, believe it or not, they probably wouldn’t have much cared for–I chose to let it go. I don’t have to use the bathroom at the courthouse. Maybe I really want to, for some reason. There are countless things that I want to do, but that I can’t, because I’m transgender and this is Mississippi.
I could pay it forward in countless ways. I could cause a ruckus, make all kinds of noise out in the real world. Like when my landlord nearly evicted me simply because I’m transgender. Oh, man. I could have paid that forward in countless ways. The public crucifixion of him, can you even imagine how the wider public would react? But I let it go. And, as it happens, the fact that I let it go and just continued doing my own thing is precisely the reason the landlord changed his mind. “She’s not bothering anything.” In fact, because I was willing to stand with the landlord’s right to evict me from his property, even though I felt it was the morally wrong thing to do, I would bet that if it ever came to it, that landlord would be at my house with a gun ready to shoot anyone attacking me for being transgender.
You don’t change minds by pulling this kind of shit, kid.
You don’t reach people’s hearts by using the fact that you were screwed as an excuse for screwing over other people. You forgive, and you let it go.
Just a kid?
I don’t buy into that. I don’t buy into the argument that “you’re just a kid,” so you bear no responsibility for what you’ve done. You’re 17. You’re anywhere between 364 days and 1 minute away from being classified as an adult. Unlike most people, I don’t place much significance in the arbitrary value that is a person’s age; you’re 17, and that makes you responsible for your actions. You knowingly and willfully continued cheating these girls because you wanted to wrestle and the state cheated you. But did the state even cheat you? You just won a state championship. Looks to me like you’re a wolf and the state just threw you a bunch of sheep. So I’m not even sure the State of Texas insisting you’re a female did you any harm. It looks to me like it helped you, because I’m thinking that you probably wouldn’t have won a state championship against other 17 year old boys.
You had the chance to do the right thing: withdraw.
Sometimes it sucks. No, it’s not fair. Life isn’t fair, and it can’t be made fair by other people. Fairness starts with you, regardless of what has been done to you. If you want life to be fair, then you have to start being fair to other people, even when you don’t think they deserve it, even when they haven’t been fair to you, and even when it is to your own detriment, because that is what fairness means. You are the only person who can directly increase the amount of fairness in the world, and every action that you take that isn’t fair actively decreases the amount of fairness in the world. Life isn’t fair, and you are the reason life wasn’t fair for every single girl you wrestled against.
From a M2F transgender person to you: you know damned well that you weren’t fair to those girls you wrestled against.
And, it bears repeating, that is not how you reach people’s hearts and change their minds. I would have thought people would have learned this from Trump’s victory over the left. You don’t reach people by making them angry, by cheating them. All you achieve, when you do that, is adding resentment to whatever they were already feeling. So congratulations, kid! Now there are probably a hundred girls in your wake that you defeated who are now actively resentful of transgender people, because a transgender person stole their championship from them. You’re not doing anyone but yourself any favors with this kind of shit.
If you want to reach people, you have be better than the people who screwed you over. You can’t just turn around and start screwing over other people and say, “It’s not my fault! I got screwed over, too!” Because it is your fault. You chose to wrestle against girls. You chose to cheat them. You chose to add resentment to the heart of every angry parent of each of those girls who you beat. You’re in Texas, man! You know those parents already were gritting their teeth simply because you exist. And then you went and cheated their daughters. What the hell good do you think that is doing for transgenderism?
You can’t force people to like you. You have to be bigger, you have to be better. You have to rise above it, not reflect it onto others.
Be the man that you want to be. Not the cowardly pussy who cheats other people because someone cheated him.
It’s not supposed to be easy to forgive and let things go, to walk away when you’ve been cheated. Every aspect of human nature demands vengeance, in any way that we can get it. “Fine! You won’t classify me as a boy? Then I’ll wrestle against all these girls who, let’s face it, won’t stand a chance. That’ll teach you a lesson!” But at what cost, man? Maybe the state of Texas will change their position now. I doubt it, but they might. I suspect that the only thing accomplished here is that you won a state championship. Meanwhile, you cheated untold girls out of fair wrestling matches. You made all of their parents, who were probably already predisposed to dislike you, actively resent you because you cheated their daughters. I hope that championship trophy is worth it, because you just set back transgenderism in Texas.
You did that.
As Thomas Knapp points out below, the responsibility for this does ultimately fall to the state, and my initial thoughts were just to delete this since much of it is irrelevant. I’m not even sure how to amend this because of that; I was fixed on his choice to wrestle or not to wrestle, not on the nuance that the state created the entire freaking mess and didn’t steal from the kid’s parents in order to fund it. There is that reality, that if we’re going to have “public services” provided by the state, then those services must be available to everyone. I still don’t think that Mack made the right decision, and that his actions could only have increased the amount of ill-will people in Texas have for transgender people, which isn’t entirely on him anyway. I still think the championship is hollow, and I don’t see much difference, within this context, between injecting testosterone and injecting steroids.
One thing that I have been considering is the likelihood that the primary reason he continued wrestling was specifically to win the championship and draw attention to the absurdity of it, which is the sort of thing that happens when the state tells people what gender they are. There’s no way here that everyone could have been happy, I guess, is the place I’m coming from, and the way it played out meant that Mack is the only person truly happy with the result. And now in the list of high school state championships, there will be Jessica, Amy, Sarah… and then Mack. He had to say “fuck them” about a lot of people and disregard a lot of people’s feelings to win the championship. And while the state of Texas forced that choice on him, I think he made the wrong one.
After sharing my previous article to an Anarchist, Voluntaryist, and Libertarian page on Facebook–not something I do often; in fact, this was only the second time in a year that I’ve done so–the very first comment was, predictably, that no one cares about my mental illness. Right, because that is a conversation transgender people aren’t sick of having. And it’s extremely common. With almost every video, every post, every article around the Internet that is from a transgender author about transgender things, there is very likely to be some asshat who thinks that he, and only he–because, sorry, I have yet to come across a female doing this–understands that gender is binary, transgender people are insane, and being transgender undermines everything else you have to say because you’re insane. Remembering now that I posted this to a closed group of like-minded people, I found myself having to point out that there is no such thing as a “legitimate reason” for kidnapping, sexual assault, theft, or ransom.
I was also called a “transgender fascist” because of my desire to force the state to accept my right to define myself and to identify myself. This, in the mind of the confused person who is so terrified that I’m going to force my beliefs onto them that they are eager to force theirs onto me, is nothing short of fascism. It’s a remarkable disconnect, and showcases just how warped a person’s brain can get when they hold reverence to dogmatic values and insist they aren’t arbitrary. I once stated that sex was a binary thing–I was mistaken. Sex has never been a binary thing; we simply treated it as one. Initially, we understood sex as XX and XY chromosomes, but more recent developments have revealed how horrifically inaccurate that was, and that the reality is that every cell in a person’s body has a sex, and they’re not all the same. This literally means that, far from being a binary matter, sex is an infinitely fluid matter, ranging from 0.0000001% male to 0.0000001% female.
If we look at these three shades of blue and just say they’re all “blue,” and then spend decades treating them all the same, does that really mean that there’s only one blue? No. It just means we were short-sighted, overly eager to simplify, and mistaken.
And, as we’ve learned more recently as our technology advances and we peer deeper into cells, genes, and chromosomes, what looked like a single shade of blue when we stood back seventy feet from the television and looked at little boxes actually turned out to be totally different shades when we got up close and examined them. So yes, I was again wrong; sex is not a binary thing and has never been a binary thing. So to be so beholden to the idea of sex as a binary concept when all scientific evidence disputes that idea is the very definition of dogma, especially since what we’re talking about is evidently an arbitrary human construct of generalities and oversimplifications. I would call dogmatic loyalty to an artificial construct so severe that it causes one to utterly lose the ability to empathize with another human being the “mental illness,” if we really want to talk mental illness.
Of course, it was brought up that “gender dysphoria” is classified as a mental illness. This is true. And I pointed out, though I can’t find the source, the AMA has gone on record stating that they did this in order to ensure that transgender people’s medicines, hormones, and surgeries were deemed “necessary” rather than “cosmetic.” It’s rather like how some dental plans won’t give you a full set of dentures because it’s deemed cosmetic, and will instead cover only partial sets. That rift between “cosmetic” and “necessary” is a big deal, and while I appreciate their reason for doing it, people who have chosen to treat it like the holy grail of definitive medicine–even as they dispute numerous other diagnoses in its pages (“Addiction isn’t a disease! They’re so wrong about that! Addiction is a choice! But gender dysphoria? No, they’re right! You’re insane, because they said so! Because ‘mental illness’ obviously means ‘full-blown insanity!'”)–end up causing transgender people in the real world no end of headaches.
When I pointed out to this person that gender dysphoria is the disease and “being transgender” is the cure, he replied, “They’re the same thing.”
It’s frustrating, because, as I said, this is a conversation that any transgender person has had countless times. Almost any time the subject is brought up, there’s at least one fuckwad who does this, and it’s always hard to ignore. It’s hard to ignore someone sitting there and calling you insane because they don’t have any understanding of things that are pretty easy to Google. But even if we don’t reply–and for the most part, I didn’t, because a wonderful other person took up the cause for me–it still stings. How could it not? It’s like a white kid being told he’s insane because he likes rap, or a guy being told he’s insane because he’s gay.
More to the point, the basic issue is his inability to understand that this interaction between transgender people and the state… doesn’t impact him in any way. If I fight the state, succeed, and force the state of Mississippi and its police officers to recognize people as the gender they identify as, this does absolutely nothing to force this random person to accept my definitions or gender identity–unless he is one of the police officers in question.
This gets into messy territory, doesn’t it? Do I have the right to force the state to recognize my gender identity?
See, that’s the wrong question, and it reveals how skewed this discussion even is. The actual question is: Does the state have the right to dictate my gender? Does any state employee have the right to say whether I am male or female, and to treat me accordingly? This is the real heart of the question, and the answer is obviously “No.” If state employees could do this, then an officer could tell any woman he arrested, “No, you’re a male. Now get naked. It’s time for a strip search, dude.” According to this guy who thinks I shouldn’t be able to prevent the state from forcing its definitions onto me, this would be totally acceptable. The state defines me, regardless of what I say, and to this Voluntaryist, Anarchist, or Libertarian, that’s totally okay–because the state’s definitions are the same as his definitions. But no, that’s not bias or hypocrisy. It’s just a happy coincidence that it happens to be his definitions that the state is forcing onto people.
By treating me as a male, the state is forcing their definition of genders and sexes onto me. My telling them, “No, you can’t do that. You have to treat me as the gender that I am, not the one you say that I am,” is defense, not offense. It would not be an issue if the state was not attempting to force their definition onto me. But they are, and they did. When I say that I’m a female, absolutely no one has the right to dictate over me as though I’m male. This random person can use whatever definitions he wants and believes me to be whatever he wants, but he has no authority to dictate over me, no ability to impact my life unless I allow him to. If he wants to insist that I’m a male, that’s his right, and it’s my right to call him a bigoted, ignorant idiot and stop having anything to do with him.
See? That’s the difference. I can’t just “stop having anything to do with” the state or the police.
This is the state we’re talking about. I’m not talking about this random dipshit on Facebook. If he wants to treat me as a male, fine. I don’t care. If he says “Turn around and drop your pants,” I don’t have to obey him. And if he pulls a gun on me, I can pull one back out on him. If he attempts to rape me, I can fight back without risking getting beaten to death by fifteen freaking people. He has no authority to trap me in a windowless concrete box with the steel door shut and command me to drop my panties. So I don’t give a flying fuck what he thinks.
Whether we like it or not–and I don’t like it–the state does have authority. It’s stolen authority, it’s immoral authority, and it’s disgusting authority, but the reality is that they have it. In a moral world, it wouldn’t have been an issue because no one could have kidnapped me and held me for ransom at gunpoint yesterday. In a moral world, it wouldn’t be an issue, because someone wouldn’t have a badge giving them the authority to coerce me into doing a strip tease. Without a state, these wouldn’t be issues at all. Fighting against the state’s attempts to define me as a male in full disregard of my own wishes, physiology, preferences, and identity is reactionary–by definition–but it is also necessary, defensive, and justified. It is the equivalent of shooting an armed burglar who has broken into your home. By kidnapping me at gunpoint and coercing me with the power of the badge to do a striptease, the officers roundly violated my rights as a human being. I should not have to explain this to anyone who claims to be a Voluntaryist, Anarchist, or Libertarian.
“What perceived rights do you think were violated?” someone asked.
Well, that’s an interesting question. All the more interesting because it came in this same group of people who are supposed to understand these things. I guarantee you that when the Constitution was written, the American Founders didn’t intend “forcing a prisoner to do a strip tease” to be any sort of reasonable search.
I shouldn’t have to explain to anyone that a male officer forcing a woman prisoner to do a striptease while she’s being processed for a misdemeanor traffic violation and waiting on the paperwork to be completed so that she can leave is a full and total violation of her Fourth Amendment rights. I don’t give a SHIT what the Supreme Court has ruled about it. Besides all of that, this person has completely missed the point–a few other people have totally missed the point as well.
It’s not about whether the strip search can be justified. It probably can’t, and I’ve now spoken with nine other people who have been through this jail–in fact, I’ve been there twice and this is the first time I was strip searched–and none of them were strip-searched, including several people who actually were in custody for a few days. You can’t hide behind “Standard Operating Procedure” when I can present a list of a dozen people who passed through that very jail for the very same charge in the very same circumstances and were not forced to do a strip tease. You simply can’t, because the evidence is against you. If you attempt to play that card, you are being a statist apologist. I can point you to these people right now, my own sister among them. She’s been to that jail twice. She was only patted down on both occasions. You’d better believe I’m compiling a list of names of people who will swear before a grand jury that they weren’t strip searched.
What it’s actually about, though, is related to the above–the fact that I was strip-searched because I was transgender by a cop who abused the authority of his badge to sate his curiosity. That’s the allegation–one of them. Because that’s clearly what happened. I know females who weren’t strip-searched, I know males who weren’t strip-searched, and I’ve now been in that jail three times–once when I was 17, once for 3 days when I was 19, and yesterday. Only on one of these occasions was I strip-searched, and only on one of these occasions “was I transgender.” Holy crap, the evidence is overwhelmingly against Tate County and the officer in question.
Furthermore, there is the fact that I’m transgender. And while this will be the messiest part, and will inevitably land before a federal appeals court, I have full confidence that it is a legal battle that I will ultimately win. A long-time friend asked me today, “If you found a competent lawyer, and Tate County offered you $10,000 to settle, what would you do?” It was a question of such profound ignorance that I didn’t know where to begin.
Dude, you think this is about money? Me? The quasi-Buddhist? The chick who shuns materialism? You think I’m motivated by money?
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be fighting for money, because that’s all they can offer. They can’t undo what they did, and they can’t fix what they did. Will ten grand be enough to satisfy me? Not by a fucking long shot. The real answer to that question is that I will do whatever my attorney suggests that I do. What the hell? How can he be that unfamiliar with litigation? The attorney would advise me whether or not to accept the settlement. I don’t even understand how someone can ask me such a question barely 12 hours after the incident even occurred.
Beyond that, I do have a goal. Not just for Tate County, but for the state of Mississippi to institute a policy regarding transgender people that is identical to the city of Seattle’s: that all transgender people will be recognized and treated as the gender they identify as. That is what I want. That is my goal. If they don’t give me that, then absolutely no amount of money will appease me. They could offer me ten trillion dollars and I would not take a penny of it if they will not adopt that policy.
If I hadn’t been bailed out last night, do you know what would have happened? I have to wonder if these people have given this sufficient thought. If I had been forced to spend the night–or a few days or weeks–in jail, I would have been tossed into a men’s cell block–panties, makeup, bra, boobs, curves, and all. This happens. In fact, looking into this issue makes me enraged that people are discussing bathrooms, because I read about a transgender woman who served a prison sentence in a men’s block, where she was reportedly raped more than two thousand times. And what are we discussing?
It’s true that there is much less rape in county jails, but this isn’t to say there is none, and my friend’s attempt to assuage me by saying there is “very little risk” of being raped in a county jail is nothing short of sociopathic. “It’s fine. There’s only a 0.2% chance that you would have been raped, so what’s the big deal?” It’s a mark of how fucking ridiculous this entire conversation is that someone would even say such a thing. I tried pointing out to him that he would never say that about his sister, his wife, one of his daughters, or even any female friend of his, and that the only reason he’s saying it to me is that I’m transgender. It stems from more of that “You’re not really a woman” stuff that pervades more of their thought processes than such people understand.
He infuriated me in his attempt to play the devil’s advocate, because there was just so much wrong with it. For one, the event, as of right now, happened barely more than 24 hours ago. This shit just happened. I was just sexually assaulted. Yesterday. I was just forced to do a strip-tease by a male cop against my will. 24 hours ago. No ordinary or reasonable human being would ever say, “But what harm was really done?” to someone in such a situation, much less when not even a full day had passed since it happened. He got pissed off when I replied that he was being borderline sociopathic, but I absolutely stand by that assessment. Actually, I’d say psychopathic to stand by the assessment.
No judge, jury, prosecutor, defendant, or attorney in their right fucking mind would ever dare ask a sexual assault victim what “demonstrable damages” were done. That is a question of such extraordinary offensiveness that I informed him bluntly that I would henceforth not discuss the litigation or my transgenderism with him again. Because of that line of questions, he has all but been thrown from my life. These are not questions that any jury would ask. They are questions that Charles Manson would ask. They are questions that the desperate pedophile on trial for child pornography would ask: “But, Your Honor, what harm was there really? I only downloaded the pictures. I didn’t perform any of the acts or take any of the pictures!”
It is unbridled madness to even ask such a thing. There’s being a devil’s advocate, and there’s being an absolute dick. No woman in any modern American court–transgender or otherwise–would have to explain to any sane juror the harm of being forced to do a strip-tease by a male cop. And I told him that if he was to ask anyone the same questions that he asked me, his wife would divorce him, his sister would never speak to him again, and he’d find that everyone thought he was a psychopath. It’s like asking a rape victim, “But you didn’t get pregnant and it was over quickly, so there weren’t really any damages, were there?”
It’s sexual assault. The very act itself causes damage. That’s why we outlawed it.
I didn’t mean to get into all this, but it’s been a full day as I’ve learned who my friends are and who my friends aren’t. It’s been a devastating day. Before I began writing this, I lied in my bed, cuddled with my cat, and cried. I did that for about an hour, and then I forced myself to get up, because I’m not a crier. I won’t lie down and cry–at least not for long. I will fight. I will fight against anyone and everyone who stands in my way. It’s more “You’re not really a woman, though” bullshit.
Because it would unequivocally be sexual assault if a male officer did this to a natural-born female, and even this “devil’s advocate” wouldn’t challenge that. Even asking such a thing is a tentative admission that he doesn’t consider me a female–just a guy wearing women’s clothes. Because I refuse to believe that any sane person could imagine their sister or wife or other female friend in a closed cell with a cop being forced to do a strip-tease and somehow dispute whether or not it counted as sexual assault and whether or not that entailed damages. And naturally when I got pissed off, he pulled the “You’re too emotional to talk about this” card.
You’re goddamned right, you fucking dick, and your bigotry and borderline psychopathy are the fucking reasons why. If your wife came out of this situation and was looking into attorneys and you asked her about “demonstrable damages,” she would divorce your ass. It’s understood, by the act itself.
The Senatobia cop who was both polite and professional, I didn’t care if he referred to me as a male, or called me “dude” or anything else. I didn’t tell him that I’m transgender because I insisted that he call me “ma’am,” although he did. I told him because I wanted him to know in case it became relevant. It’s just like I don’t care if my friends occasionally call me “him,” or if clients think I’m a guy. Their opinions don’t matter to me, and their misgendering me isn’t a concern, because it’s best for everyone involved if they do misgender me.
But it matters when people have authority over you. Holy fuck, does it matter when you’re being forced to do a strip-tease for a curious male cop and facing the prospect of being thrown into the men’s cell block. Despite this “I’m such a devil’s advocate I’m almost a psychopath”‘s assurances, it is not true that “everyone” is in there awaiting DUI trials. I’ve been in county jails before. There are some people waiting on murder trials, some waiting on rape trials, some waiting on drug trials. Some of these people face 25 years. Some face life.
And American prison and jail systems have a long fucking history of placing gay men in cell blocks where they know the men will be raped, only to then say, “You must have been asking for it.” This guy had the audacity to say to me, “They wouldn’t want to add on a rape charge to their jail sentence.”
Dude, how many occurrences of prison and jail rape do you think result in charges? It’s been a long time since I looked at the numbers, but the last I checked it was like 5.7% or something along those lines. It would have been my word against the rapist’s. The rapist would have insisted that I consented to it, and I would have obviously disputed that. It’s a profound ignorance about not just male-on-male rape and prison rape but rape in general. The rape culture hysteria is certainly overblown, but we do have a problem with police officers putting forward and accepting the rationale that “she was asking for it” and “she actually wanted it.” This problem is particularly prevalent with male-on-male rape and prison rape.
One of the main reasons that most men don’t report it when they are raped is the psychological damage of it. Through no desire or enjoyment on the rape victim’s part, his penis will become erect–at least semi-erect–from stimulation of the prostate. It is well-known that rapists use this to their advantage, saying things like, “Yeah, you know you like it–that’s why you’re getting hard.” And you don’t think this ignorant ass officer who forced me to do a strip tease for him would say, “Well, her penis got hard, so clearly she enjoyed it, and she wouldn’t have enjoyed it if it had been rape”? How insulated in a bubble can a person be?
Last night, the state forced its binary, unscientific, and inapplicable definition of “male” onto me, despite my protests and explicit statements otherwise. Realistically, at the very moment I told the officer that I’m a transgender female, it could damned well have meant that I have a vagina. This has to be considered–the officer had no idea what type of transsexual I am, and didn’t ask. Rather than ask, he forced me to do a strip-tease to find out.
For the most part, it’s just so not important what people call me. I call myself the Anarchist Shemale. Almost all of my clients call me “he,” and a few of my friends still call me by my old name. It’s so meaningless to me. These transsexual and transgender people who get up in arms–“Did you just assume my gender?! Did you just misgender me?!”–they are undermining the actual problems out there. Those things are irrelevant. They are issues created by people who have never truly suffered. One of the greatest revelations for me in the last few months was that the Dunning-Kruger Effect applies very much to a person’s understanding of what suffering is. I don’t blame them for that. I applaud them. Congratulations–they have lived lives of such ease and comfort that some random person at a store calling them by the wrong pronoun is an offense and losing an election is traumatic. I don’t care what this asshole on Facebook wants to call me, or if he wants to label me as a male. It makes no difference to me. It’s tedious and exhausting, but I don’t care.
I’m not and will never fight to force Random Joe to call me a female. In fact, I have a long record of fighting for the right of Random Joe to exercise all of his rights, including the right to hate me and disassociate from me.
So anyone who accuses me of trying to force other people to accept my gender identity is either not listening, not paying attention, or purposefully misunderstanding me. In his overzealousness to prevent me from forcing him to accept my gender identity, he becomes okay with the state forcing me to accept his and their gender definitions. I’m not trying to force him to accept my gender identity. I’m trying to stop him from forcing his definitions onto me. And I hate myself for even saying this, but his inability to understand that difference is the very essence of the whole “privilege” thing.
When you’re that accustomed to forcing your way onto everyone else, it does seem like someone forcing their way onto you when they stop you from forcing your way onto them. This doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there trying to force their way onto them–there are. Lots of them. There are lots of transsexual and transgender people who think it should be totally illegal to call a transgender person by the “wrong” pronoun. I’m not among them, and any idiot who reads anything I write would quickly realize that. It was outright stated in the fucking initial article about this.
I refused to vote for Gary Johnson, and my primary reason for that was precisely that he wouldn’t allow religious people the right to conduct business in accordance with their religious beliefs. This is a message to all those fucking idiots who don’t understand simple concepts. I have been fighting this fucking battle for the right of people to discriminate against me for years, and I have the record to prove it. To all those people, I have stood by their rights for years, even when it actively harmed me and went against my own direct interests, and I will continue doing so. Now it’s time for those people to shut the fuck up and stand beside me like I stood beside them. I’m not asking them to accept me. I’m asking them to help protect me from the goddamned state, just like I fought to protect them from the state.
I apologize for how this next paragraph is written, but there was no other way to convey it in written words.
I also learned from this experience how seriously damaging it is to be transgender–to be struggling to be transgender because more than 5/6 of your life was stolen from you and you’re fighting against every single day you’ve lived past puberty without the correct hormones coursing through your body… To already be struggling everyday with doubts about “Am I feminine enough?” To look in the mirror at every opportunity, hoping and praying to see yourself more feminine, more how you should be, more how you want to be… To already struggle so much with day-to-day life as a transgender person, not to mention all the other stuff, the family stuff, the parasitism, the economic and financial struggles, the struggles to get a book published… To be depressed deep down inside and constantly in a state of mild cognitive dissonance–because I know I’m not as feminine as I want to be, that I’m not as passable as I must be… And then to have an authority figure slap you back down viciously, rebuke you firmly, and state that no, you are not female, so turn around and drop your pants.
It’s always painful to look in the mirror and not see what I want to see, to have the fear constantly nagging in the back of my mind that maybe I’ll never see what I want to see, that maybe it’s too late, maybe there’s no hope. To then have long-time friends reveal that they consider me a guy in women’s clothes–even if they don’t have the balls to outright say it… That’s painful. And to have an authority–not just any authority, but the ultimate authority, the state itself–rebuke you, spit on your efforts, spit on your life, your hopes and your dreams, and insist that you are a male whether you like it or not. Most people won’t understand. Most people can’t understand.
Look, I’m not talking about how society is rigged against females or anything like that when I refer to sexism as being real. In fact, the only way in which I can verify that sexism is real is that women are repeatedly told that they are being emotional. Despite repeatedly putting forth factual and logical statements, I was just again told that I was being emotional–actually, I was told that I was on an “emotional rampage.” Wow, right? So what did I say that showcased this emotional rampage?
It could, but there wouldn’t really be any benefit, while there would be terrific harm.
I’ve had a pain when breathing deeply for about two weeks. So what makes more sense?
A) For me to ask a doctor.
B) For me to establish a national poll providing a bunch of information, none of which is complete and all of which is complicated, and ask the entire nation to vote on what my treatment should be. Note that if they vote “Go see a doctor,” then they’re advocating representative democracy. No, I’m needing from them a diagnosis and treatment, and I’m going to do whatever they suggest.
It’s madness, isn’t it? Social matters aren’t simple ones. Most of these complex issues take years of study to understand. Democracy is turning the control of the ship over to the passengers, none of whom know anything about operating a ship and all of whom think “It’s just common sense” or that the gut feelings they have about this or that issue are enough to make an informed decision.
Economics is actually a pretty complex subject, but people tend to take their emotions and use those emotions to support their idea. Rather than learning about economics and how we might raise the standard of living, for example, masses of people who know nothing about economics instead vote to raise the minimum wage—a rash act based in economic ignorance that has severe consequences. It’s the Dunning-Kruger Effect Governmental System: people who know almost nothing about these complex, technical subjects instead think they know enough to dictate the course of the ship.
It’s certainly possible, and the Democrat Party seems to want it to happen (hence their party name), but it would be folly. The problems of democracy have been known and explored for thousands of years; there are very good reasons we’ve never tried it. Especially in the age of the Internet (if we could get a handle on our tech security), it wouldn’t even be that difficult from a logistic standpoint. But from a cultural and social one, it would (hopefully) be hard to sway people to give control of the ship to the passengers.
Replacing our government, whatever type it is, with one more suited to our liking is a right—the right of self-governance. If we decided we wanted a direct democracy, then by all rights our current government should step down. They wouldn’t, of course, and it would require revolution, and then the new government would be just as bad as the old one. Just different.
Every generation has the right to choose its own government. People who lived 200 years ago had no right to determine what type of government we must have, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. However, a republic government really is the best of a terrible situation. If we must have a state, a constitutional republic is the most pro-liberty and restrained.
So far, so good, right? Nothing emotional or irrational about that. Just a few facts and a few rational arguments. In came the comment:
Your answer relies upon a very narrow view of human nature and ignores extremely important principles of democracy. “Economics is a complex subject” is true and that is why there must be widespread and strongly independent news media along with journalists having investigative powers. In the US there used to be journalists who specialized in those issues and released their findings for all to consume. The “news” used to solve that problem for us but corporations have totally destroyed that part of America. [emphasis added]
Not overly polite, but okay. I decided to give Don Tracy the benefit of the doubt and replied:
I’ll be courteous and give you an opportunity to explain how my answer ignores fundamental aspects of democracy and is extremely narrow.
Obviously, I’m not too happy to be insulted–even if the insults are so dim and weak. Retaliation never gets us anywhere, though, and if Don was correct, I wanted to know it. Don replied:
You are narrow minded in forcing people into ignorant masses that can only think emotionally which is the whole premise of your answer. Without the metaphor of passengers passively going along for the ride what is your point? That is not democracy; it is not “mob rule” which immature philosophers of the ancient past claimed – they didn’t even know about the concept of a nation-state. Granted you say we have two thousand years of additional history but rather than claiming we haven’t learned in that time like you say the truth is exactly the opposite – mankind has learned a lot about government and politics over history. The “Democratic Party is folly” shows your biased agenda. Finally, you need to know that a republic is a type of democracy so your answer relies upon a weird personal definition of democracy that no one agrees with and is not accepted in general.
More viciousness. As it happens, I am correct, though, in my initial answer, so I defended my points:
See, and here I was being courtesy. *sigh*. That’s how it goes, though. Pro-democracy people really do love their insults.
You are exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger Effect, I feel I should warn you. It is a statement of fact that areas of complexity and expertise are significantly misunderstood and woefully underestimated in their complexity by the masses. I’ll provide this so that you can read it over it: Dunning–Kruger effect – Wikipedia
Democracy most certainly is mob rule, and that you cite “immature philosophers” as saying this shows how wrapped in the Dunning-Kruger web you must be. Some of the greatest thinkers in human history—those “immature philosophers” you are referring to—rejected democracy on exactly the same grounds that I did. Here is further reading on the nature of democracy—two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner: Is democracy in reality just mob rule?
If you would suggest that you know better than these people who dedicated their lives to the study of governmental processes and society—those “immature philosophers” again—then you are, again, exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger Effect in shocking ways.
The last part of your reply shows exactly why democracy cannot be allowed: you have confused the question’s discussion of “direct democracy” with universal suffrage—that is, the right of the people to vote. In a republic, the people vote for representatives who enact policy. In a democracy, the people vote directly on the policies. No one has stated that universal suffrage is bad. I said that democracy is bad; e.g., the people voting directly on matters of policy is bad, for reasons outlined above.
You seem to think that universal suffrage and democracy are the same thing. They aren’t. A Democracy is a type of government where the people vote directly on the issues via referendums. It is not the right of the people to vote; that right is called universal suffrage. What, exactly, the people are voting for is what differentiates a democracy from a republic. If they are voting on matters of policy directly, it is “a democracy.” if they are voting for representatives who then vote on matters of policy, it is a republic.
“Democracy” has been twisted by the layperson into meaning “universal suffrage.” I agree with you on that, just as “theory” has been twisted to mean “educated guess” to the layperson. Use the layperson’s definition of “democracy” and “theory” if you would like; I will not. The only thing that differentiates the democracy from the republic is what the votes are for, not the existence of suffrage.
Regardless, the question deals with direct democracy—i.e., the people voting directly on the issues rather than going through representatives. The question is specifically whether the U.S. can/should remove the representatives from the process, not whether we should or shouldn’t have universal suffrage.
You’ve called me narrow-minded, limited, and biased. I’ve been nothing but polite to you. Learn the difference between universal suffrage, a republic, and a democracy, accept the wisdom of the people who came before you instead of calling them immature, and stop assuming that you know everything while you reject what people who have studied the matters have to say.
A lengthy rebuttal substantiating everything that I said. Cool. And Don’s reply?
Well, there you go again. I must say with all kindness that your ideas definitely are limited and biased but absolutely not you personally. I’m afraid you are on an emotional rampage but please understand that I am not a debater, not a professor, and not a lawyer. I have no idea what a Dunning-Krueger thing is but since you do then you must be pretty smart. So for a smart person, I don’t understand how you can have such stupid ideas. I checked the web page for “Democracy is mob rule” and have warn you it is obviously biased with an agenda to promote – you should not used it. Please re-read my comments above and give them some honest thought and consideration. Good luck my friend.
Are you fucking kidding me?
Now I’m having an emotional reaction, because now I’m pissed off. To present a valid, reasonable argument with citations and evidence, only to be insulted by some ignorant, sexist pig who can’t face the reality that he has no fucking idea what he’s talking about… It’s infuriating.
So I deleted his comments, but they’ll stay here as a testament. This happens quite a lot, and it never happened until Aria existed. Anyone who can read my rebuttal and take away “emotional rampage” is an unequivocal moron. It’s ridiculous that he doesn’t know what the Dunning-Kruger Effect is, since I gave him links to it. Rather than checking it out, he vomited out this spiel.
Look. If you reply to a girl who presents a rational argument with links and citations as she rebuts your insults and your unsubstantiated silliness with the accusation that she’s having an emotional rampage, then you’re a sexist piece of shit. Sorry, but you are. Because you know you wouldn’t say that to a guy.
Look deeper into what he said, too. “You must be pretty smart. So for a smart person, I don’t understand how you can have such stupid ideas.” I’ve talked about his before, this way that people tie their beliefs to their estimation of their own intelligence. It’s so… Dunning-Kruger-ish. “I’m right because I’m intelligent, so anyone who agrees with me must also be intelligent. If they are intelligent and don’t agree with me, then something is very, very wrong, because intelligent people agree with me! Maybe they aren’t intelligent after all.”
It’s so obviously circular.
The new deity with which they make their own ideas sacrosanct: intelligence.
It is such a dangerous thing, to tie “being right” with “believing what I believe” and with “being intelligent.”
Because no one thinks they’re wrong, and no one thinks they’re stupid.
Yet loads and loads of people are both wrong AND stupid. Yet no matter how wrong someone is, and no matter how stupid someone is, they will always–all caps, underline, bold–ALWAYS believe that they are both right and reasonably intelligent. You don’t see half the American population running around saying, “I’m wrong, but I believe it anyway!” and “I’m stupid! Hur hur hur!”
No. You see everyone saying that they’re right–self included–and everyone saying they’re intelligent–self-included. Why, it’s almost as though being right or wrong and being intelligent or stupid are completely and totally unrelated to a person’s ability to recognize whether they are right or wrong or intelligent or stupid!
If you gauge your intelligence by your own beliefs, such that people who agree with you are deemed “intelligent” while people who disagree with you are not, then you’re closing your mind to the possibility that you might be wrong about something. After all, “wrong = dumb” in that worldview, and we all value our egos too much to ever even allow the possibility that we might be stupid.
This is what I mean when I say that intelligence has become the new deity by which we make our beliefs sacrosanct. We all cradle our egos–right, wrong, intelligent, and stupid. So if you assess intelligence by whether or not people agree with you, you divide the world not into “people who think x” and “people who don’t think x,” but “smart people” and “dumb people.” This is an excuse to not listen to them–they become idiots, stupid–heathens, pagans, and apostates.
Being right or wrong have NOTHING to do with intelligence. They have to do with INFORMATION and a willingness–or unwillingness–to accept that information.
Remind me to never, ever argue with theists about whether morality is subjective again. My contention is pretty simple:
Morality is subjective because humans are subjects who assign values to things.
It’s a tautology, and it is self-evident. It is as self-evident as a statement can get. It needs no argument, no substantiation, and no more evidence than direct experience. We are humans, and we assign values to things. As we are subjective beings and our experiences and existences are subjective, it follows that the values we assign are subjective.
Then theists come along and say, “No! The values we assign are objective!”
Why are we even discussing this? The burden of proof is so obviously and completely on the people arguing for objective morality that no more of my time should be wasted trying to explain a tautology. If you want to argue that the values you assign are objective, then you have to demonstrate the source of those objective values. Until you can do that, the entire conversation is moot.
So I spent a little while arguing on Facebook–banging my head against the wall would be more accurate–and in the course of the conversation I said two things that really pissed people off:
That is utter nonsense.
You can’t possibly be that thick.
These were taken as personal attacks. I’ll grant that the second one comes pretty close to being a personal attack, but the first one is obviously not. “That is utter nonsense” clearly refers to a statement, and not a person. Ergo, the statement has been attacked. What statement did I attack?
I’m not going back to the thread right now because they’ve kept going and I’ve washed my hands of it, but basically I pointed out that the very fact that we have disagreements about what is moral and what is immoral is strong evidence that morality is subjective. He replied something to the effect of, “So if one person thinks that something is more morally wrong than someone else does, obviously he’s measuring that with some objective criteria.”
No, it doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s obviously utter nonsense. It’s such utter nonsense that it’s honestly not even wrong, and I wouldn’t begin to know how to explain what is wrong with it. So that two people use internal criteria to assign different subjective values to things is somehow a demonstrate of some external, objective criteria? What? When the guy threw this statement back at me as a “personal insult,” I gladly stood by it. What he said was nonsense. “The sky is blue because the sky is blue, so clearly the sky is red.”
And no. No one can possibly be thick enough to believe such a ridiculous statement. These two insults were tied to the same comment, I should point out; I said them both in reply to this utter nonsense. I stand by that, as well. No one can be thick enough to really believe something so horrifically nonsensical.
But it’s not my goal here to reiterate the argument. They are responding too quickly and Facebook’s medium too limited for it to take place effectively. Moreover, they are repeating themselves and denying that the burden of proof is on them, even though my contention, from the start, has been that morality is subjective because we are subjective individuals and we assign values to things.
Tell me: how shall I convince you that a circle is round?
For more than a decade, I have been arguing with people on the Internet and discussing things with people. I have engaged in undoubtedly thousands of online arguments, started probably a fourth of those. And in my career of arguing with people online, I have never been called “emotional” or “overly emotional.”
Until last year, when I officially switched from being a male to being Aria.
In the past year, I have been called “overly emotional” at least ten times in various online arguments. I am not exaggerating when I say that this never happened when I presented myself as a guy. It never happened, and no one who knows me could agree that I’m prone to becoming emotional in discussions. If I was, I wouldn’t have evolved from pro-life Republican and die-hard Christian to dyed-in-the-wool socialist liberal to pro-choice anarcho-capitalist. My loyalty is to reason, not to emotion, and I’ve written a goddamned book on Nihilism, which is an utter rejection of emotional thinking. It’s not finished, though it’s about 200 pages in.
It wasn’t even that long ago that Thomas Knapp corrected my position on libertarians and abortion, by making me see that I was wrong, and that pro-life people weren’t automatically un-libertarian. Yes, I’m so emotional I reversed my old position because it couldn’t be rationally supported. Totally ruled by my emotions. It totally explains why I’m still saying that Austin Petersen isn’t a libertarian because he’s pro-life.
Except… Oh, wait. I did change my position. I did ease up on Austin Petersen. I still don’t think he’s a libertarian, but it’s because he rejects the NAP, not because of his abortion stance. Recently I wrote specifically about abortion and that libertarianism isn’t automatically pro-life or pro-abortion. This is where a bit of a fracture comes in, as you can see in the comments there. I’m also not a big fan of abortion. I’m really not. I don’t think it’s right, because there are so many ways to prevent pregnancy in the first place. I’m 29, and I’ve only once gotten a girl pregnant. She aborted, but that was beyond my control, and it was only last year that it happened.
I’m certainly not pro-abortion, though. I’m pro-choice. Part of the problem is that most people do take “pro-choice” to mean “pro-abortion,” and it doesn’t really mean that. It means pro-choice. It means being in favor of people having the choice to get an abortion if they so choose, not being happy about them getting an abortion. A pro-choice person can still choose to reject abortion and condemn it, after all.
Recently, a girl on Twitter challenged me to demonstrate sexism in the United States. No, I honestly can’t do that. I could, if I cared to spend the time doing it. I could run two simultaneous online presences for the next year, carefully tabulating the results that I get. It would take too much effort, though, and it’s not worth it to me. I know what I’ve experienced.
And what I’ve experienced is that no one ever accused me of being overly emotional until they knew I was a female. Yes, the anarcho-capitalist who recently made a video called “What is Capitalism?” that said “being poor is a state of mind” is “overly emotional.” For pointing out that an argument is absurd and undermines its own point, and for saying that the person who made the argument couldn’t possibly be “thick” enough to believe it–which some could take as a compliment, honestly–I’m “overly emotional.”
And no one ever said that to me when I wasn’t wearing lipstick, you know?
As a cool little bonus, because this came out shorter and filled with more digression than I wanted, here is a chapter from Shattering the American Illusion that I’ve been writing.
Chapter 6: Morality
Warning: We are about to ask a LOT of “What if…?” questions.
Many arguments are presented by theists in an attempt to give their god something to do, and one of the most common among these is something along the lines of, “Oh, yeah? If there’s no God, then how do you explain morality? Western Law is built on the Ten Commandments!” Before we proceed much further, let’s stop and bask in the unabashed glory of this argument—and the one that says “America was built on Christianity!”
A precursory glance at the latter claim will reveal why Science and Christianity have stood at odds for so long: a little bit of reading is a very dangerous thing, especially to the theistic reasoning. Written in 1796, under the leadership of George Washington and John Adams (two of the people directly responsible for the creation of “America”), the Treaty of Tripoli is as follows:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of [Muslims]; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries (Dawkins “God” 40).
Let no more be said (ever, preferably) of the idea that the United States was founded on the religion of Christianity. At best, what can be said is that our ancestors fled to these shores to escape religious persecution and then embraced the notion of religious freedom, which requires a secular state by any measure. Not only did our forebears reject the notion of any state-sanctioned religion, they would be scandalized to see the state of American politics today, when a man or woman’s religious beliefs is listed as the second or third most important attribute of them (generally followed only by their name and political association—Democrat or Republican) (Dawkins “God” 40). This is a deplorable state. Using a person’s religious beliefs as a motivation for voting for or against them sets us on the path toward abolishing the separation of church and state.
Moving on to our main discussion, there is the question of morality and why humans have a notion of it if there is no god. Many ideas have been put forth to explain morality, but before we get into that, we must ask: “What is morality? What is moral behavior? What is immoral behavior?” These questions, whether you “feel” the answers intuitively in the form of examples you can easily imagine, are not really so simple to answer as “doing good” and “doing bad.” In fact, it’s very difficult to explain moral and immoral behavior without using words like “good” and “bad.”
In the simplest terms, moral behavior can probably be defined as “doing to others as one would have done to themselves,” and immoral behavior can be defined as “doing to others as one would not like to have done to themselves.” You’ll notice the teaching of Christ buried in this philosophy; that is not accidental or coincidental. I doubt you’ll ever find an atheist who claims that Christ had nothing useful to say (though what he said was certainly not original). At any rate, these definitions don’t really help us very much, because what one person would like might be different from what another person may like. One person may dislike what another person would like. One person may like what another person may be indifferent to. One person may be indifferent to what another person likes.
We have no “universal person” who we can use to make these assertions that any given act “would be liked” or “would be disliked.” So we haven’t really come any further with these definitions than if we simply had attributed them as “good” and “bad” behaviors. Henry Hazlitt, in The Foundations of Morality, likens moral behavior to attempts to “make an is from an ought,” and this is difficult to get into without explaining the context around which he says this (5). We’ll still show, after explaining what he means, that he’s wholly incorrect because “is” and “ought” are just as subjective as anything else we’ve tried so far.
“The world ought to have peace” would be an exemplar statement, but the problem here is obvious: the conditions we’ve created with the word “ought” are an illusory world that is most certainly not the one in which we live. In order to make such an “ought” statement, we must be capable of comparing the “world as it is” to a hypothetical “perfect” world wherein “what ought, is.” Making such a comparison, of course, requires being able to compare any two states of existence (regardless of the disparity between them), and this therefore goes quite a long way in explaining why dogs and cats don’t have such a system: they lack the cognitive processes to imagine this “world of oughts.”
“Women ought to have equal wages” would be another example, and it has the same problem; in the world currently, there is not peace and women, even in the United States (bastion of “freedom” though it is) women do not earn wages equal to men. In fact, one of the presidential debates of 2012 established that women earn 76% of what their male counterparts make.
Moral behavior, then, is a vehicle with which we travel from “what is” to “what ought be.” The actions we take toward establishing peace in the world (as ought be) would be considered moral actions, just as the actions we take toward giving women what they actually deserve would be considered moral behavior (as this is what ought be). Moral behavior is any action that decisively transitions “what is” toward “what ought be.” But this is a minefield of problems, because it automatically presumes that “the greater good” is better than “a local good,” and we can’t justify that.
For example, what if the only possible way, after every other avenue has been explored, to achieve world peace is to nuke the Middle East and turn the entire region into a deadened tundra of snow and ash? Do the many (the rest of the world) outweigh the needs of the few (the Middle East inhabitants)? Would we be justified in killing hundreds of millions of people if we were to spare some countless number of theoretical future victims from dying in needless wars?
I can’t answer this question for you; it is one you must ask and answer for yourself. But I presume that you, like me, would say, “Absolutely not.” I say this because the people in the Middle East are real—we can see them, touch them, love them. They feel as I feel, they think as I think, and they know as I know. The theoretical future people that may be spared from needless wars are not quite so real, even if they are potentially of infinite number. I cannot condone the sacrifice of real people to protect the lives of imagined people—and I sincerely hope that you cannot, either. My sense of empathy forbids it.
What about a simpler, less illusory example? What if you could go back in time to 1940 and kill Hitler? What if you knew that killing Hitler would (somehow) immediately end World War 2 and would cause all the imprisoned Jews to be released from the concentration camps? What if you knew (thanks to your coming from the future) that Hitler would go on to be responsible for all those deaths if he lived and you knew that a great many of those deaths would be prevented by the death of Hitler? You can kill him, press a button on your wristwatch, and return the present, with no negative repercussions on the world as a result of your tampering with the past. What if the only outcome of going back in time to kill Hitler was that there would have been deaths prevented and those people went on to live normal, productive lives? Would you kill him?
I tend to think the average reader would. If my intuitions are in touch with the average reader’s, then I am correct, because I know that I would kill Hitler in the above circumstances. That’s right: I would take the life of another human being. And I wouldn’t even feel slightly bad about it, and I doubt that you would, either. Why is this? Why is it that we can murder a human being and not feel, at the very least, immoral, much less can feel that it was the most moral thing we could have done? Why is it that you could approach a random person in the street and murder them, and this act would then be judged immoral, but you can murder Hitler and (I imagine most people would agree) the act would be judged moral?
In either case, you’re performing exactly the same act: killing another person. You might hold up a gun, take aim, and pull the trigger, ending the life of the victim—in both examples. But in one, you are moral (or, at the very least, morally neutral) and in one you are immoral.
This fundamental truth (that statements of moral value are subjective, rather than objective) is universally true, even for such contemptable acts as murder and rape. Though we would be hard-pressed to imagine up any scenario in which rape would be considered acceptable, we can do so, no matter how far-fetched that scenario might be. It follows, then, that rape cannot objectively be immoral, as it depends upon other factors and circumstances. Even though such circumstances would be so rare that they are unrealistic, any proclamations that we make that rape is immoral are still dependent upon circumstances that are almost always true.
The problem with moral claims is that they cannot be demonstrated, for the most part, as moral or immoral, because we lack omniscience and can never identify all of the effects of a given cause.
 The exact wording is “Musselmen,” which is antiquated term that means “Muslims.”
Has anyone else noticed a tendency among pro-life libertarians to be smug and self-righteous in their assertions that the libertarian platform is unequivocally pro-life? I don’t mind people being confident in their positions, but there’s an inherent smugness in saying something like this:
It’s funny because he’s wrong.
I always look dubiously at people who say things like “This group…” and follows it with a statement that they consider universally true, unless that statement can be demonstrated. For example, I’ve said that libertarians are against the use of force and violence to achieve political goals, and that’s a general statement about a ton of people. Yet I’m okay with it, because “being against the use of force and violence to achieve political goals” is quintessentially what “libertarian” means, so I basically just gave the definition of a libertarian by saying that.
It’s a matter of semantics to phrase the first statement so poorly, so let’s go ahead and rephrase that to add clarity to his statement.
Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.
Seeing as the state is the only institution capable of making something illegal, if the government is to be kept out of it then it is, ipso facto, a pro-choice position. The libertarian position is “You may not like abortion, but you can’t stop anyone from getting one, though you can refuse to get one and refuse to perform one.” In this way, people who are against abortions are not un-libertarian–they are merely exercising their right to act in accord with their own conscience.
The problem is that you certainly can make the case that the fetus is a person due the same rights as anyone else, and so it is wrong to initiate violence against the fetus by killing it. That’s not a position I have any desire to argue with, for the most part, except it forces us to ask a few questions that pro-life people can’t answer.
What is the difference between a fetus and a tumor?
If potentiality equals actuality, then people who fantasize about killing someone are criminals.
If the difference between a fetus and a tumor is that the former is a living human, what is a human?
If a human is life, what is life? How do you distinguish life from non-life?
If you presume it’s okay to force a woman to donate her womb space to an unborn fetus, then you must presume it’s okay to force her to donate a kidney if that child later becomes sick, since both are ipso facto consequences of her decision to have a child.
These, honestly, are questions that can be asked period, except for the first two and last one, and that’s my point. We have no idea what life itself is, and we have no valid metric of distinguishing life from non-life. I would argue that this is because “living matter” is an illusion, and that there is no difference between life and non-life, that there is only matter and energy and one of the remarkable elements of matter is how it can interact with itself. But until you can show me how fire isn’t alive but people are, I have no reason to take you seriously if you claim that a fetus is a living person.
The biggest point of contention, though, is #5, because pro-life people assume that the fetus has the right to be inside the woman’s womb. It is well-established that a womb is part of a woman’s body. As pro-life people love saying, the fetus is a separate life, and therefore not part of the womb.
Think about a kangaroo and its pouch. Pro-Life people are arguing that the baby kangaroo has the right to be inside the mother’s pouch, and that the mother’s pouch is so much the baby kangaroo’s right that the mother can be forced to have the baby in her pouch whether she likes it or not. So you would force the woman to let the kangaroo into her pouch, because the kangaroo will die if it isn’t allowed to be in her pouch. In order to prevent an act of violence, you commit an act of violence.
Pro-Choice is no better, don’t get me wrong. In fact, that’s why I’m writing this, because there isn’t an easy answer, and there is no “objectively right” or “logic dictates” answer. The issue is the murkiest of murky murkiness. Pro-Choice chooses to allow violence to be done to what could be argued is a human being, in order to prevent someone from having their body forcibly used by another person against their will. That’s not a particularly great position to be in, either.
I am pro-choice. Worse–because this is almost certainly going to make you angry–because I don’t think that anyone with a penis has any right whatsoever to weigh in on the subject of abortion*. I’ve caught a lot of heat for saying this, but c’mon, let’s be realistic here. Pregnancy is the one fucking thing that women can do that men absolutely cannot, but men still can’t resist trying to dominate the subject and saying what can and can’t be done about it. When I said this two years ago, no one really minded. Most people didn’t agree, but I didn’t catch heat for it. Now, people act like I cut off their goddamned balls my saying it, and then they say “There’s no such thing as sexism in America.”
You’d think such people would gladly listen to what a transgender person who has lived as both genders has to say about sexism in the country. There is no one more qualified to discuss sexism than a transgender person. I’ve had girls tell me there’s no such thing as sexism, and call me a stupid cunt for suggesting there is. To me, this is like a black person saying there’s no racism just because they haven’t noticed it. There’s plenty of sexism, but my position on it is that it’s not automatically a bad thing.
But yes, one of the ways that the sexism manifests is in men believing they should have a say-so in abortion.
Guys, if you get a girl pregnant, it is one hundred percent up to her whether she wants to take your feelings into account. If she wants an abortion but you want her to keep the baby, if she wants to ignore your wishes, then she can, and she will. I’ve been there. I got the Vegas Chick pregnant, in fact. Unsurprisingly, she totally ignored my wishes on the matter; there was nothing I could do about it, and it never occurred to me that I should be able to force her to carry the baby.
Is that what you want, men? To be able to force your girlfriend or wife to see the pregnancy through? And you don’t see how that reeks of sexism? Sticking your dick in that girl didn’t give you any ownership claim of her. Her womb is still hers, and that’s the bottom line. Her womb isn’t your property, and if she doesn’t want something in that womb, then…
“Tough titty said the kitty.”
If you get a girl pregnant and she ignores your wishes, then tough shit. Find a better girl, one that will take your feelings into consideration. This holds true in the other direction, as well. If she wants to carry the child and you want her to get an abortion, it’s tough shit again for you. However, I’m obviously against the state forcing you to give her money to raise that child, too–or forcing you to pay for the abortion, either. If she wants to raise that child on her own, never even telling that child who the father is, then…
“Tough titty,” said the kitty.
Men have no perspective on the issue of pregnancy and abortion because, until very recently, men were utterly unable to be pregnant. This is something that only women can do, guys. This is the only area in human life that belongs 100% to females**. You are at their mercy here. If your girl wants to be a bitch and abort the baby, tough shit. If she wants to be a bitch and have the baby but keep you out of the life, tough shit. I know this bothers you. I know it angers you. And I know that having someone tell you this directly angers you even more.
Because men are used to being in control. You’re not used to being at anyone’s mercy. You’re accustomed to having the authority to tell people what to do, no matter the topic, and it drives you fucking crazy to have this one area where you rightly have no authority or say-so at all unless the woman wishes to allow it. Think about the long history of humanity and the countless areas where women have had no authority or say-so at all unless the man wishes to allow it.
You gotta let girls have this one, dudes. The issue doesn’t affect you.
And that’s why I’m pro-choice. I’m not “pro-choice” as much as I am “I don’t have a womb, so this issue can’t possibly apply to me, and thus I have no right to dictate one way or another.”
If your girlfriend or wife wants an abortion and doesn’t care that you don’t, suck it up.
If your girlfriend or wife doesn’t want an abortion but you do, suck it up.
You have no rightful claim to anyone’s womb, whether you want something to be in there or not.
* Said, of course, as someone with a penis. However, it’s impossible to point out that men shouldn’t have a say-so on the matter of abortion without being involved in the subject of abortion, and genitalia is irrelevant to that. I’m not arguing pro-choice or pro-life, really–I’m arguing that it’s not our damned place to say, because the issue, by definition, cannot affect us in any direct sense. If you want to argue that your feelings will be hurt, then you are also making an argument against outlawing hate speech and anything else that hurts feelings, so that’s a slippery slope we shouldn’t jump down. “Hurting your feelings” is not an injury.
** Actually, there is also breast-feeding, but breast-feeding reeks of its own sexist displays, doesn’t it? Rest assured that breast-feeding would not be illegal if men could do it. Why do I say that? Because this picture is totally acceptable:
But this one is not:
My boobs are still small, but that’s not the point.
This morning my employer confirmed the suspicions that I wrote about yesterday. His reply was exactly what I had expected, and had been delayed for exactly the reasons that I expected. Like my sister, he expects me to “just deal with it” and to just be trapped in the box out of pragmatism.
But I will not.
I will not do it again. That is no way to live.
Like my sister assumed, he assumes that I will back down because I have to have a place to live, and he’s not wrong. I don’t make enough money to afford anywhere else. I live in rural Mississippi and am basically a serf to this employer; it doesn’t even appear to be by accident that I don’t make enough money to do other things, you know? I’ve talked about that before, and I’ll provide the link here.
This situation is very much a “You’ll hide the fact that you’re transgender from my son, or you’ll be kicked out, and I don’t pay you enough for you to live elsewhere, so suck it up and put yourself back in the box.”
How can I take it any other way?
It is irrelevant that he is a bit nicer about it than that, and that he hasn’t overtly said that, but that is what he is saying nonetheless. Look at the situation more closely, and keep in mind that I’ve spent the last year trying to get a different and better job. There just aren’t any here in rural Mississippi; I need money to leave, and I need to leave in order to make money. And now I am facing a situation where my employer is threatening that I will be kicked out if I continue openly being transgender, and so I must get back in the closet because he, my employer, doesn’t pay me enough for me to do anything else.
Though it was not overtly said, the message is clear. If his son moves into the house in question, he expects me to get back in the box. He doesn’t seem to have grasped what I meant when I said that I will not be put back in the box. Have you ever seen the film The Man in the Iron Mask? Leonardo Di Caprio gives a stunning performance, and at one point he cries, “No, kill me if you must, but do not make me wear that mask again.”
I am being told to wear the mask again.
What consequences will result from this decision? Terrible ones. Unemployment, homelessness. Yet the alternative is one that I cannot face. I would sooner die. I have lived that life before, trapped in a small box–then a bedroom–and not even allowed to go to the bathroom. I wasn’t even able to be me until after my nephew had gone to sleep because, no matter how many times I berated him, he had the lamentable habit of barging into my bedroom without knocking. My sister and her husband would have thrown me out then and there if her son had walked in on me as me, and I couldn’t handle that. And even then, once they were gone to bed, I was forced to stay in my bedroom. I couldn’t go to the kitchen or bathroom. If one of them woke up and saw me, they’d have thrown me out.
This is the same situation, and I’ve been here before. The box in which I will be trapped is bigger, but I will be trapped nonetheless. Did I leave something important in my car? Uh-oh, better change clothes completely. Can’t just walk outside and get my stuff out of my car. Do I need to do laundry? Better hope he doesn’t open the dryer or anything. Plus, for complex reasons I don’t feel like getting into, I bathe in this house that we’re talking about. I use the freezer in this house that we’re talking about. If all this strikes you as bizarre, read the post I linked above.
It was actually that house that I was renting in the first place. But the owners keep a bunch of ceramic knick-knacks and other shit in there, and my cats broke one of them. They were supposed to come and remove their shit, but never did, and they ultimately asked me to move into the other place, which was fine, for the most part. I still have free access to the other place–I do my laundry there, I freeze my ice there, I bathe there, I park my car in its garage, because it’s like fifty feet from where I do live.
I knew as soon as I received the initial email Sunday that this was going to be bad, because it all hinges on one thing: his son’s tolerance, or lack of, for transgender people. It’s hard to believe that this guy who has known me for 5 or 6 years would so callously see to it that I’m kicked out, even though it wouldn’t be doing him a damned bit of harm, but I already know from experience… that it doesn’t matter.
My own sister, someone I have known my entire life (obviously), kicked me out for it. I have no delusions that his son will be more reasonable, more open, and more understanding. The fact that he’s known me for years and knows me to be, at the very least, an alright person, will count for nothing.
It’s not even “being transgender” that people have a problem with.
Think about it. How many times have you seen a girl wearing men’s clothes without it being a problem? Just the other day at a client’s, there was a girl working there who was clearly wearing men’s clothes, and no one looked twice at her about it.
It’s not crossdressing or transgenderism that people get pissed off about.
Even here in bum-fucked Mississippi, it’s totally acceptable for a girl to wear guys’ clothes. In fact, it’s pretty common–probably more common here than in other parts of the country. But if a guy is caught wearing girls’ clothes… It’s life-threatening. At the very least, he’ll be attacked.
And that’s the problem here. So many of these people know me as a guy. They won’t see Aria and go on about their business. They’ll see this guy that they see every other day wearing women’s clothes. Even though they wouldn’t care in the slightest if ” a girl they see every other day” was wearing men’s clothes, I would not be so lucky.
I’m honestly not sure what to do here. I can’t go back in the box, and I won’t. My employer’s latest email insists that I’m jumping the gun a bit, but I have been down this road before. His gut reaction is the correct one, I know from experience.
When I first realized I had to start coming out to people as transgender, I was torn about my sister. My gut told me that she would flip out, and a friend of mine who knew her very well agreed. As I continued pondering it, however, I became convinced that I was freaking out over nothing. She already knew for the most part–it was an unspoken secret. And she was my sister–together, she and I had gone through alllllllll that bullshit:
And this one:
Yes, we went through a ton of bullshit, and all that is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s enough for me to fill an entire book that I’m calling Dancing in Hellfire and am trying to find an agent for. God, having that book published would alleviate all of these problems, would easily provide me with the means to move to Vegas and escape this nightmare where shit is constantly hanging over my head, where I’m always in danger.
I convinced myself that she wouldn’t care. So I told her. She said she was fine with it, but that she’d have to ask her husband whether I could simply be me as I paid them rent each fucking month. Weeks passed. I finally asked again. She said she hadn’t. More weeks passed, and I finally asked again. She said that he had a problem with it. She lied, of course, and I knew that she would: it was never her husband (who had once lived with a cross-dresser) who had a problem with it. It was her, and she used her husband as a convenient excuse.
Finally I laid it all out for them in a letter, informing them that I was proceeding with it, and that they could accept it, or not. It was then that I received that fucked up text message from my sister:
So oh, yes. I’ve been down this road before, and unless I’m able to move to Vegas this time, I will end up going down this road again. It’s so much easier for people to reject me than to confront their own discomfort, their own disdain for feminization, and their own cognitive dissonance.
I’m so tired.
I just want to be left to live, work, and love in peace. Why is that so goddamned much to ask? Everyone else is allowed to do it. But no, because I choose to wear women’s clothes and present myself as a woman, I’m not allowed those basic things.
Why can’t I wear the shirts I want to wear, the jeans I want to wear, and the shoes I want to wear? Why can’t I present the face that I want? Men can grow beards if they want; men can grow mustaches if they want. But I can’t wear makeup? Why can’t I wear my hair a certain way? Everyone else can. Everyone else can wear the shirts they like, the jeans they like, the shoes they like.
It’s not a matter of courage. There is nothing to be gained by presenting myself as a female permanently here in Mississippi. It would leave me unemployed, homeless, and starving to death very quickly, and that is if someone didn’t attack me and kill me before those other circumstances started falling on me. It wouldn’t be “courageous” to present myself as a female all the time here, because everyone here has known me as a male. You can see from my videos that I’m passable, for the most part. Yet I’ll never be passable to the people who have always known me as a male. While my friends are accepting and don’t give a shit, that doesn’t apply to the random people who see me around town.
As I pointed out previously, my situation here in Mississippi is not good, and I’m hardly more than a serf. My landlord is my employer’s father, and I’m not going to go into that whole situation again–you can click that link for the details–but my landlord does not know that I’m transgender. He suspects it, though, and there’s no real indication that it’s a problem–he just hasn’t seen it or dealt with it.
My employer has also not seen it, but he ostensibly doesn’t have a problem with it, and has even said he’d like to meet me. He stumbles around the terminology as much as you’d expect someone to, and that’s my biggest issue with the whole transgender thing. The terminology is absurdly clunky. However, it’s of note that he hasn’t met me–despite the initial conversations happening six months ago–and it’s always noticeably awkward when the subject is brought up.
Sunday night he emailed me this.
The house in question is literally within a hundred feet of where I live; it is on the same property. In fact, it’s so close that I use its garage to park my car under, and it’s a short walk from there to where I live. It’s seriously like right there. If I look out my bedroom window, it’s just… right there, about fifty feet away.
I replied politely and firmly, but making my position clear.
Seems like the simplest way to handle it would be to let him know I’m transgender. It will become obvious, no matter how unobservant he is. Either the cats will look out the window and pull the curtain open just at the wrong time or he’ll pop open the dryer or I’ll drop a bra while loading the dryer and not notice until I go to retrieve my dry clothes–who knows. Living with someone at that proximity, though, it is inevitable. Then it becomes an awkward, uncomfortable elephant in the room, and I don’t maintain it as a secret any longer anyway. It’s more like how I’m an atheist–I’m actually rather upfront about it, but I still know better than to tell the Good ole boys at Perimeter than I’m an atheist, so I simply don’t tell them.
It’s also inevitable because I learned today as I got a lot of really weird looks that boobs are visible beneath my t-shirt. While I knew I could no longer wear “wifebeaters,” I also can’t just throw on a t-shirt any longer.
If he wants, I’d bet my grandmother can get him a dorm. That’s not related to the preceding paragraphs. But she worked at ________for most of her life. She easily got my sister into the “good” dorm. ________ wouldn’t have wanted one of the dorms anyway unless he’s an athlete. They’d have put him in ___________, which is filled with loud, obnoxious, 18 year old people. I’ve delivered pizzas there; you couldn’t fucking pay me to live in that dorm. I’d be homeless before I did that.
More pursuant to the first two paragraphs, I live in an almost constant state of “Did I remember to…” already. I’m almost constantly going over mental checklists, to the point that I nearly freaked out walking into [a client’s] the other day because I suddenly thought I was wearing a female shirt (I have no idea why I thought that–it was an ordinary t-shirt). But that kind of thing is constantly going through my mind. “Did I remove nail polish? Did I remove eyeliner? Is mascara still there? Am I wearing the right clothes? Am I wearing the right flip-flops (yes, I have two pair, and yes, one pair is pink with flowers on them)?” Under most circumstances, I’m in a state that could best be described as “between genders.”
And all this assumes that it wouldn’t be a problem for ______, though I’m obviously a pretty private person myself. Damn. Too many variables.
I was polite, but firm, in my statement that this is not something that I hide. Toward the end, as I lived with my sister, I was forced to hide in my bedroom all night every night. The entire reason that my living there came to a head was my being transgender and her unwillingness to “allow” it. So I was forced, despite paying tons of money each month in rent, to cower in my room all night every night, always ready to quickly change clothes when my nephew came and knocked on my door and barged in without waiting for an answer.
I simply will not do that again.
I don’t care if his son finds it awkward and uncomfortable. His son can either stay someplace else, or he can throw the gauntlet down to his landlord that I make him uncomfortable, and I can be forced to move. I do not care which happens, but under no circumstances will I cower in my house with the curtains drawn, not allowed to go outside at certain times of day because he’s home or whatever. I simply will not do it.
I am already enough of a prisoner here in Mississippi. There are already many places that I cannot go. I have to constantly be on guard, because too many people would recognize “my male identity” within my female one, and, yes, our clients would stop working with me over that, and the reality is that I need that money.
This would likely place the landlord in the position of having to choose between his grandson and a loyal tenant who has been living here for 8 months. I have no doubt that I’ll be told to leave. It’s happened before, and it will happen again.
There is very good reason to believe that the kid in question will not be okay with any of this. He’s evidently vehemently racist, according to his dad, and I know that his mom takes issue with me being transgender:
Of course, “more later” never came, though I explicitly asked him twice.
The same thing has happened here. He has not replied to my response. When I texted yesterday to find out if he was going to be staying down here last night, four hours passed before I got a response via text message. For four hours, I languished in a state that could best be described as “between genders” (primarily because my hair isn’t very long yet) trying to figure out whether it was safe to just be myself. That is a condition that will become permanent with a neighbor living in such proximity to me.
I talked with my landlord briefly this morning, and he suggested it’s a foregone conclusion that the guy will be living there.
I do appreciate the awkward situation my employer is in. He’s the “gatekeeper,” so to speak, but that’s a responsibility that he chose when he directly asked the question and I answered. I’ve since repeatedly made it clear that I do not live in secret any longer. I will go out in a heartbeat as my true self, and people can deal with it or not. I do not exist on their terms.
This is, however, his son, and my landlord’s grandson. That only raises the awkwardness of the situation.
And I was not the one who put us in this situation. I will not suffer for it. I will not be made into a recluse again.
I’ve been upfront and clear that I will not let this remain a secret or an elephant in the room. The guy can deal with it, or not. But I will not allow him to hide from it, because I will not hide from him.
But I’m not kidding myself.
I know how this will go down.
I’ve been down this road before, after all, with my own sister.se.